In 1953, Willem De Kooning was one of the world’s most revered living painters, and Robert Rauschenberg was a talented rising star, just a year out of art school. In this clip, Rauschenberg tells of how, armed with nothing but chutzpah and a bottle of Jack Daniels, he knocked on De Kooning’s door and flat-out asked the master for an original drawing — so he could erase it. De Kooning not only acquiesced, but even chose a drawing he particularly liked. Though it was controversial at the time, Erased De Kooning is now considered a conceptual art classic. And its influence endures: Last year a student at Brown out-Rauschenberg’d Rauschenberg by erasing De Kooning’s wikipedia entry.
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